3D Vision for Shopping Malls

AUCKLAND (04/20/2000) - Warehouse retail chain chief Stephen Tindall has a vision -- PCs showing 3D images and such displays at shopping mall kiosks.

Tindall is a shareholder in Hamilton-based Deep Video Imaging. The company recently profiled its 3D Deep Video Image (DVI) technology in Auckland as a prelude to a major display launch in the U.S.

The company was formed to market the technology, developed by Gabriel Engel, and Peter Witehira of Power Beat International. Engel and Witehira are also shareholders.

DVI allows users to peer behind objects on screen. The technology works by adopting LCD technology to stream multiple or stereo video signals to a new screen format at different depths. Viewers then use touch screen technology to rotate three-dimensional images of products.

"We believe it has terrific applications," says Tindall, "particularly in vision and anybody that needs to use screens for graphics ... It has a great future in producing 3D graphics without having (people wearing) the funny glasses (currently used)."

Tindall will not reveal the extent of his investment and says there is much "water to go under the bridge" before DVI 3D kiosks are available at the Warehouse, or anywhere else.

"It has not been purchased on the basis it will be used at the Warehouse. (But) if a kiosk (vendor) puts DVI in its screens, we would be delighted to have it in our stores," he says. "I can see the day when we will have a 3D image for every computer screen. It's probably a long way off, but it is a possibility."

The flat panel display industry is worth US$12 billion a year -- a market Deep Video Imaging is aiming for.

But Tindall says before DVI goes into mass production, world screen manufacturers will have to be convinced of its extra cost.

The technology was profiled at a Trade New Zealand Maori Enterprise Technology Seminar at Auckland's Stamford Plaza recently.

It was also shown at the major Kioskcom trade show in Las Vegas from April 17 to April 20 to industry leaders, including Daimler Chrysler, Borders and Continental Airlines.

In the U.S., interactive kiosks are now standard at airports, stores and car dealerships, allowing shoppers to view models or catalogues at different angles and different optioning levels.

Engel says Deep Video Imaging aims to license DVI technology to LCD manufacturers and form partnerships for technology to be used on computer screens.

He says some DVI technology has been sold to Canadian phone giant Nortel.

Daryn Bean of Trade New Zealand confirmed Trade NZ support for the firm in attending shows in the U.S. and Australia. He says the firm is a potential high-technology exporter that could bring millions of dollars to New Zealand.

"Deep Video Imaging is a leader in technology. It is...an exciting product.

They have a clear strategy on how they hope to achieve some significant foreign exchange. They are going to the shows looking for immediate returns, confident of securing licensing agreements and export sales," he says.

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